Saturday, January 26, 2013

Chicken Soup is Good For the Soul

So, I would post a picture of this latest and greatest recipe, but my cell phone never does my food justice, so I won't.  Let us just say I made a chicken soup in the crockpot tonight that was awesome.  And, better yet, delish!

To start: everything is chopped up into bite-sized pieces, and this meal is very economical if your grocery store is having a sale on chicken breasts, and you feel up to deboning and skinning the breasts yourself...which I was:

4 lb. chicken breasts
1 can Campbell's Cream of Mushroom Soup with Garlic
1 can Campbell's Cream of Chicken with Herbs
6 Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled, chopped
6 carrots, peeled, chopped
6 celery ribs, chopped
1 large onion, chopped
1/2 c. chicken broth

Lawry's seasoning salt, pepper, garlic powder, Italian seasoning mix, season to taste.

Throw everything into a crockpot and 6 hours later...ta dah!  Yummy chicken soup.  I served it with some of those Pillsbury frozen biscuits and it was a perfect effortless meal for a cold day.

Chicken soup: it's good for what ails you.

I've been using my crockpot more than usual because my oven is on the fritz..  I'm totally pissed about it because it's an older oven, and it seems the temperature is slightly off but I can't figure out if it's running too high or too low.  My biscuits get burned, and my casseroles aren't cooked through so bottom line: I look like I don't know how to cook, which is a complete outrage. We're currently renting our house, so technically, it is our landlord's responsibility for having something like this fixed, but short of it breaking, or me taking a sledgehammer to it,  I don't see the situation being remedied anytime soon, so I'll make do, I suppose.

You see, I am a really good cook.  I mean, it's one of the few things I excel at, and enjoy.  I find it relaxing and rewarding to lose myself in a recipe and forget about all life's other annoyances while I focus on combining ingredients in such a way that the end result is something that will bring enjoyment and pleasure to others.

I think I was an Italian grandmother in a former life.

It's one of the few things in my life that shouldn't feel like such a challenge.  Work is challenging enough.

Haven I mentioned that I cannot wait until Feb. 1 which is the end of tax filing season?

Bottom line: what does this have to do with me going to Orlando to see The Wizarding World of Harry Potter?  Not a damn thing.

I'm currently watching season 2 of American Horror Story (I highly recommend!) so:

My Mood Ring(tone) of the Day:

Saturday, January 19, 2013

A Perfect Illusion

It's not easy being perfect.  Believe me, I know from first hand experience.  It's hard work.

It's also terribly frustrating carrying on this pretense of perfection.  And lonely.

For many years, I strived to be perfect and that got me absolutely nowhere.  It left me isolated, friendless, jobless and hopeless.

Because for many years I had a problem, an addiction you could say, that thankfully I managed to break myself of.  Unfortunately, it was not my eating disorder.  That is still a work in progress.

But the entire time I was suffering and weak, I was afraid to show it to anyone, even my family, which was truly devastating, because it almost cost me my very close relationship with my sister, that I value very deeply. And rightfully so, because I was a hot mess.  I was so wrapped up in myself that I couldn't get past my own selfishness to see how my behavior was affecting others.  Others who cared about me.

Luckily, my sister was the better person and hung with me long enough to see me to the other side.  For which I am eternally grateful. Because she is my best friend, my bestie,  my BFF.  Probably the only other woman on the planet that I can get along with for an extended period of time, because honestly, women can be so catty and competitive and nice-nasty that they get on my last nerve.

But maybe that's just Southern women, I don't know.  And for my female fans, I apologize.  Maybe it's just me, maybe you have tons of fantastic girl friends, then good for you.  I do not.

But I digress. What was I talking about?  Oh, ME, that's right, my bad.

And my selfishness.  I'm still selfish, very, but I'd like to think that I've grown out of that somewhat.  I'm not the sort to inconvenience myself regularly for the sake of others, but if I like you, if I care about you, I'll put up with some of your imperfections.  Oh, sure, I'll judge you silently, but I'll take the time to listen to your troubles, buy you a birthday cake, make you dinner, loan you a few bucks if I have it, wait with you when you've left the lights on in your car for someone who knows how to jump a battery to wander by (I'm looking at you, Meryl), but I'll generally take some time out for the common man.  Occasionally grace you with my appearance to your social functions.

And although this may seem the bare minimum of human interaction, it's a far cry better than I used to be.  When I lived by myself, I was a hobbit.  I would spend every night, week or weekend, sat in my dank disgusting little house, watching television and numbing myself with a number of substances.  I was a social leper.  Self-inflicted.

Because I did have friends, I did have people who tried to get me out of my house to interact with them.  I would always have a reason not to.  Always have some fabulous other made-up plans, or a mysterious illness that kept me from joining them.  I lost a lot of friends that way.  My isolation from society worked perfectly.  And it made me more depressed and alone and so began a vicious cycle that got to the point where my isolation was not so much self-inflicted.  People stopped calling, people stopped inviting, and people stopped caring.

And I let them because I was afraid to admit that I was sick, that I had a problem, that I was not perfect.  All they saw was a selfish bitch who obviously did not give two shits about them so why should they give two shits about me.

Touche.  Their hatred was well warranted.  Because they didn't know the truth, because I didn't let them.  Because I grew up thinking that the most important thing was to appear normal and perfect and anything less was a sign of weakness.

But here's the thing, and I hate the fact that it took me to 40 to realize it: appearing perfect ain't all it's cracked up to be.  In fact, generally speaking, people don't like people who appear to be perfect.  Because we are all, when it comes down to it, hot messes.  And there is so much freedom in finally being able to admit that.  And by not appearing to be perfect it's amazing how much you find that you can relate to other people.  And life is substantially less stressful.  And lonely.

My Mood Ring(tone) of the Day:

(I've finally perfected a Britpop station on Pandora!)

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

A Face Only a Mother Could Love

One of the reasons I'm not writing too much tonight:

In my lap, asleep, mouth hanging open, snoring. 

He takes after his father.

I'm also very tired; work is draining.  Lots of over time, cannot wait for tax season to be over.

And what does this have to do with my trip to see Harry Potter in September?

Absolutely nothing.

My Mood Ring(tone) of the Day:

But only because I saw this first:

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

My, but we are a persnickety bunch

I'll be first to admit it: my family has issues. 

For a long time I thought it was me, I was the black sheep of the family, the problem child.  But no, oh good God no, I finally realized that every one of my characteristics and my troublesome nature are derived from somewhere in this branched and crooked family tree.

Number one would be my food issues.  I'm sure I've mentioned my relationship with food before.  As in, it's mine, all mine, not yours, there is no edible scrap of food anywhere on this planet that does not belong to me.  I don't care if you bought it, you cooked it, you cared for it and cleaned it, it's mine.  Even if I don't want it.  I may develop a taste for it someday and therefore, you cannot have any, because it may never be replaced, and then I will starve to death.

In like...50 years, because I'm pretty sure I've stored up enough fat that my body can subsist on its own for that long by devouring itself.

But hey guess what, I'm not the only one who has this til death do us part relationship with food.  So does my sister.

We discussed it ad nauseum this weekend at her house during my niece's birthday party:

That, btw, is the one and only picture I managed to get of this child because much like her Aunt, she doesn't like her picture taken because she's afraid it may steal her soul.  That, and she doesn't appear on film.  This was a miracle Hail Mary shot.

So, where as all of the food on the planet belongs to me, my sister's thing is that she's desperately afraid that the planet's food supply is going to run out and it's never going to be replaced so she will never be able to eat again and starve to death.  This is actually a realistic fear because being that the food is mine and I seem to be eating everything in sight, a world-wide famine is highly probable.

It's always amazed me that some people view food as merely the fuel by which we need in order to survive.  It doesn't matter if it tastes good, they have no particular favorites, they just eat what they need to and move on.  Even crazier are those people who forget to eat.  How can you "forget" to eat?  Like, didn't your stomach growling, or the fact that you're feeling weak or fainty clue you in to the fact that you may have missed a step.  Like, sleeping, peeing, pooping, blinking, or, breathing?  It makes no damn sense.

I've always had food issues.  I don't know if this was a turning point for me or just another phase in my food obsession, but I distinctly remember connecting food with my father.  We would have long, drawn out family meals that lasted for hours, long enough that you'd finished eating one meal and were hungry again for another one.  It was where I developed my love of food, connecting it with family, and good conversation, and togetherness.  That's also where I learned to eat slowly, so slowly that when I watch the Rottenator devour an entire chicken in 0.02 seconds, I am equally fascinated and horrified.  Our meals are nothing like that.  He's seriously done in, 10 minutes, tops, and I am struggling to keep up with him which usually ends up with me puking in a bathroom because I've eaten too much too fast and I'm totally stressed that my stomach is in a knot knowing that meal time is almost over and I may never get to eat again.

I finally understand my sister.

Going back to my father, I also remember when he got sick with cancer.  The extent of his illness was hidden from me for a long time, I was maybe 12, so I didn't understand how serious it was.  He was dying of cancer, but I remember my grandparents (my mom's parents) buying him Ensure because he was getting soooo skinny and losing so much weight he was getting gaunt and weak and they were trying anything to get him to keep his strength up.  And I remember thinking to myself, "if only he would eat, if only he gained weight, then he wouldn't be so sick and he'd get better".

Food saves all.  So maybe that's why I'm fat.  Maybe it doesn't have anything to do with my love of ice cream and cheese at all.  I'm just sayin'.

Another issue I have is OCD.  And it's getting worse the older I get.  This I get from my maternal grandmother.  Yes, the older I get, I am not, in fact, turning into my mother.  I'm turning into my grandmother, thereby completely bypassing middle age and hurdling straight down the tunnel of death towards the light with breakneck speed.

I remember my grandmother driving me bat fucking shit crazy when she got older because when she got something on her mind, it had to be taken care of now, not later, now.  Like, stop what you're doing right this very second and handle this thing now.  I don't care if you're in mid-stream, or driving, or solving the budget crisis, if you don't change this light bulb right now, the world is going to end, Rottenator.  I mean, Buster (my grandfather).

Because I'm nothing like that at all.  And neither is my mother who recently called me while I was getting ready for work in a panic because she couldn't figure out her direct TV remote and Judge Judy was coming six hours.

I'm just sayin'.  These issues run deep.  And the good news is, I don't have to beat myself up for my bad habits anymore.  It's hereditary.

And what exactly does this have to do with my trip to Orlando to Universal Studios in September to see Harry Potter?  Not a damn thing, so it's not worth mentioning.

That's pretty much how I'm going to see every conversation for the next 8 months: "And what exactly does this have to do with my trip to see The Wizarding World of Harry Potter?  Nothing? Then why are we still discussing it".

My Mood Ring(tone) of the Day:

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Fuckin' Hormones, Man

Seriously, is it almost 11pm?  It feels like I just got home from work.  I didn't even have to make dinner tonight and time has still flown by.

So, let's talk about this period thing. I hate it.  I hate everything about it, I'm so sick of it.  I'm sick of the inconvenience of it, the mess of it, the what-the-fuck-I'm-over-40 pimples of it, cramps, bloating, exhaustion, and the erratic mood swings that have become more extreme and intense the older I've gotten in what are hopefully the waning years of my fertility.

I used to get so irate, so offended when I was having a particularly bad day and some insensitive fuck would say, "What, are you on your period?"  How very DARE you!

But turns out...yeah, actually, I probably was, or more accurately, about to be.

And what's worse is that it seems my PMS is getting longer.  Now, it's nearly two weeks of depth-of-despair moods where I'm crying in the shower for no reason, Britpop nonstop on Pandora to remind me of my misspent youth and the general "oh my god, is this really my life?" gloom.

I still hold onto the thought that those feelings are rooted in reality to some extent, that I am dissatisfied with my life in some way, but most days, I can handle it.  I certainly don't want to kill myself over it.

Side bar: I totally just had an image of Sylvia Plath flash into my brain.  I just know that bitch was PMS-ing when she shoved her head in an oven.  In fact, right after I had that thought, I googled the Bell Jar and pages such as "suffered from severe PMS" and "books to avoid reading when you're PMS-ing" came up, so there.  Noted.

I'm very tired tonight, so this is a short post, but one of my resolutions for 2013 is to write more regularly, so I'm sticking to it.

Incidentally, two of my long-standing resolutions did not have to make it to the list this year: to quit drinking and quit smoking. Drinking is a thing of my past, and I haven't had a real cigarette in over 5 months.  Oh, I have not given up my nicotine, but my e-cig is doing the job wonderfully.

Seriously, if you know of any smokers, I highly recommend getting them to try this.  It's sooo much safer than the real thing.  For both the smoker, and quite frankly, for you. 

Meanwhile, the Rottenator and I recently went to eat at one of our favorite chinese buffets and when we opened our fortune cookies, these were inside:

How cool, right?  The SAME fortune!  Normally my fortunes say things like "You need to improve your exercise routine and stop eating at so many buffets, fatty" but this one was badass.  Mostly because the Rottenator looked at me and said "Harry Potter, here we come!"

Actually what he probably said was "Yep.  Orlando trip" or something succinct like that, but I knew what he meant.

My Mood(ring) Tone of the Day:

My musical taste is well rounded, yo.

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Down the Rabbit Hole

Damn.  I really thought I was going to pass through this cold and flu system untouched, but I'm beginning to fear not.

Hopefully it's because my period is about to start, and possibly because I had to slice up a particularly strong-smelling onion for dinner, but I am sniffly, my eyes are burning, and I feel feverish.  And I've been dizzy all day which, as my mama always said, could be fluid in my head.  From the ick.

I have been downing Airborne and Zicam like a mofo but I think these pussy-assed homeopathic remedies have failed me.

Tonight I'm going hardcore: Nyquil, Advil night, Mucinex, gin, tonics, you name it, I'm downing it, and hoping to spend tomorrow in a coma drooling on myself in my comfy bed.  Hopefully alone.

No news to report, oh, other than almost losing the Nooge to the bowels of the house.  We were cleaning out the airfilters the other day, and we live in an older house, so the vents are basically just holes in the walls or floors covered by grates onto which thin filters are fitted, supposedly to keep out dust and other toxins, but I scarcely believe it because the three of us still walk around sneezing our heads off constantly.  Probably due to the lead pipes or asbestos, god knows.

Anyway, so the Rottenator and I had left our dining room for a split second, me to grab the dustbuster because I have become fanatical in my cleaning, and the Rottenator to...god knows, just wander off because God forbid he was having to do something that didn't involve the couch or video games, and when I returned to the dining room I was met by the vision of two orange furry feet and a big ass tail poking out of the hole.

That's right.  A headless cat.  A headless half-cat.  I did as any good mother would do when her baby was in danger: froze, panicked, and starting screaming hysterically for the Rottenator.

"He's in the floor!  Our baby is crawling underneath the house!"

The Rottenator responded as any good father would: "Well, get him!".  Actually, he was quite effective during this CATastrophe (ha!  yeah, I know, but I had to go there).  He bounded into the room, and in one quick scoop, grabbed two feet and a tail, and pulled the baby free.

The only thing I could have done to be a worse mother would have been to stop and take pictures, but that I did not do (again, not so quick with the action or the thinking in a time of crisis am I), so these images are as close I could find that would accurately describe the scene.

You get the idea.

But, crisis averted, and the Nooge is okay...for now...until he pisses me off.

My mood is not much better; tried to watch a movie with the Rottenator and he just "didn't get it".  Never does.  But he's trying.  Which makes me feel worse.

Definitely time for bed.

My Mood Ring(tone) of the Day:

I chose the video with the lyrics.  I find them quite apropos.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

What Can I Say, Bitch Can Cook...And Clean

So, my traditional Southern New Year's Spread turned out to be a smashing success, if I do say so myself.

Ham, Hoppin' John (with black eyed peas and sausage), cornbread and collard greens.  Assured to bring good luck and wealth in the New Year.

It'd damn well better because I cooked and cleaned my ass off today.

I am the superstitious sort and so I succumb to the ritualistic portions of the holidays, in this case, being you should ingest some sort of greens and corn to ensure wealth (dollars and cents), the black eyed peas for luck, and the pork...well, everything tastes better with a little pork, doesn't it?  Though surprisingly, chicken isn't part of this holiday tradition.  I guess it's because fried chicken is part of every Sunday southern supper, so you switch it up with pork on special occasions to get all fancy.

No champagne toast, those are a thing of my past, but a day's worth of cleaning because this signifies a clean sweep of the year before and starting off the next one brand new, as it were.

And I vacuumed and swept and laundered my heart out today, which is why I am exhausted and it's only 6:30pm.

But I feel better looking at a clean house; in the past I never really understood the phrase "cluttered surroundings, cluttered mind" but it makes sense.  There's less stress when everything is neat and tidy.

So I enjoyed my mopped and swept floors for a few hours until the Rottenator and the Nooge awoke and then, inevitably, chaos and mess ensued.

The Rottenator spent the day watching football and playing video games.  I hope he's enjoying the last day of his vacation because I sure as hell am ready for him to go back to work.  It's frustrating when his version of a vacation is exactly that: not doing a damn thing.  Literally.  On my few and far between days off there seems like there's always something to do: cleaning, grocery shopping, there's always something.  Must be nice to have someone else worry about those things so you are free to sit on your lazy ass all day playing with yourself and your controller.

A part of me is glad the holidays are over, a part of me is not.  Because now it's back to the same old mundane routine of work, cook, clean, sleep, and so forth.  Nothing really exciting to look forward to unless you count Harry Potter and Universal but September seems so far, far away.

But until then, there's only one thing left to do I guess.

My Mood Ring(tone) of the Day: